Undeterred by talk of Storm Freya, 7 stalwart ramblers set out to brave David’s second outing from Chagford. But not before making sure our special guest for the day, the delightful Charlie, was suitably prepared for the journey ahead (thankfully, nature’s own waterproofing took care of our four-legged friend).
Leaving behind the relative calm of the Stableyard, David led the Magnificent Seven on a shorter walk than planned, a mercy given the unpromising conditions. Despite the howling winds and intermittent downpours, everyone agreed that timing was on our side, and we’d be finished by the time the worst of the storm hit.
And so onward we wended, along and over the Teign at Dogmarsh Bridge, admiring the broody skies and impressive livestock to be found grazing in the fields and pastures of Rushford Mill Farm (beautiful Ruby Reds and the prettiest flock of sheep snoozing on the banks of the Teign, impervious to the wintry weather).
Passing Chagford’s spectacular outdoor swimming pool and viewing in the distance the splendour of the woods, we continued on through the gate, and a few steps ahead admired the ‘Granite Song’ carved stone sculpture on the small island in front of us. The sculptor, Peter Randall-Page, is an internationally-renowned artist whose work is held in public and private collections throughout the world, including Japan, Australia, and the USA. A selection of his public sculptures can be found in many urban and rural locations throughout the UK: in London, Edinburgh, Manchester, Bristol, Oxford, and right here in the heart of Devon. His work can also be found in the permanent collections of the Tate Gallery and the British Museum.
Soon it was time for tea by the Teign, and a tasty treat for Charlie. The river was in full flow today, tempting the brave (or foolhardy) to kayak the rapids on the weir. No such adventurers today, however, and even Charlie, ordinarily one to enjoy a doggy-paddle, chose instead to sit and patiently await the next treat and tit-bit.
Continuing along the Teign and taking the footbridge by Drew’s Weir, the steep climb up through the Deer Park provided a much-needed warm-up to the top of the blustery heights, before we headed down in full-force gale to Whiddon Park House. The weather taking a turn for the worse, it was time to take the footpath behind the house and pick-up the path back along the river, and once more on through Dogmarsh and the road to Chagford, where hot-buttered tea cakes and a bottomless pot of tea lay in wait at David’s house.
Thanks to David for a splendid walk and generous hospitality. Charlie says he enjoyed it, too.